The crisis of renewing Islamic thought

Analysis, posted 09.09.2012, from Egypt, in:
The crisis of renewing Islamic thought (Photo: Getty Images)

Most trends in political Islam stipulate that the Islamic state protects freedom of creed. “So let whoever wishes believe and whoever wishes reject,” says the Quran. Several, however, consider those who disbelieve after accepting Islam an exception to this rule (apostates), even if the convert in question has inherited the religion.

Disregarding this exception, the right to freedom of creed is understood in its literal sense as the right to believe deeply in any religion, or not believe in any. But this right to belief is restricted to the “conscience,” so a non-Muslim may not call others to his creed, in which case his act would be considered an attempt to incite sedition. Defending one’s opinion, let alone attempting to persuade others of it, is an act that, in this line of reasoning, would be considered an incitement of sedition.

The Islamic state, therefore, guarantees a unilateral freedom of creed. And, if the punishment for apostasy is implemented, then a person would only have the right to convert to Islam. This is in addition to accepting the implementation of a form of Islamic law that is adopted by this state.

Taking this idea to the international level, a Muslim state has the right to make other nations submit to it, since its power is considered the authority of God. The opposite does not hold, though. The world is obliged to allow the call to Islam but the opposite is not true.

The problem is not with the resultant inequality — dubbed “rightful patronizing” — but in the imaginary nature of the entire project of this version of political Islam. Equality between followers of different creeds is considered an exported Western product, and inherent inequality may be exploited by proponents of political Islam whenever there is the power to do so.

The current dominant opinion, which allows for a conditional and limited acceptance of the principle of citizenship, is only accepted as an adaptation to a necessity, according to the fundamentalist jurisprudential perspective.


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